Best of the Bunch: Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Written by Curt Popejoy on 07/17/2010
Wide outs/Tight Ends has become increasingly more challenging to rank for a couple of reasons. One is the fact that fewer and fewer college teams utilize the tight end in the passing game like they should. Another is these spread offenses. Spread passing games can mask minimal talent with the scheme, and spread running games can misuse talented players. I used to put much more emphasis on the tight end and penalize teams that didn't have a receiver at the spot, but while there are still some teams that do it on my list, I won't automatically discount a team that doesn't. One thing I do demand is some top end talent. So when I look at the 4 teams I think are the real elite, the University of Houston and their wonky pass offense won't be a part of it. I am just not sure you couldn't plug in the 3rd best wide out from any of the teams in my top 4 and they'd be a no.1.
So, who are my 4? I'll start with the obvious one, Georgia. Every year Georgia seems to find high end recruits at the wide out position, but they don't always translate to meet those lofty rankings. A.J. Green did. In a big way. What he's been able to do, on a pro style run heavy offense, and with questionable quarterback play is impressive. I expect Marlon Brown to become much more of a factor in the passing game, and it wouldn't shock me to see Tavarres King go way up in his totals as well. You sprinkle in some Kris Dunham and Michael Bennett and there is talent all over the place. All in all a very talented group headlined by one of the top talents in the country.
Next I am going with Notre Dame. Losing Golden Tate to the NFL last year was tough, but make no mistake, this team is loaded as far as pass catchers go. I include Notre Dame in my top 4, even tough Brian Kelly is bringing the spread passing game to the Fighting Irish because the talent that's there is superior and it was recruited to play in a pro style offense. When you look at the depth chart, it starts with WR Michael Floyd and TE Kyle Rudolph. A case could be made they are each the best players in the country at their respective positions. Floyd is super dynamic and Rudolph is a prototypical NFL TE with ideal size and speed and soft hands. You look on down the depth chart and you have Freshman Tai-ler Jones and Senior Duval Kamara. In Kelly's offense these guys should be on the field neraly every play and you get the size of Kamara and the quickness and agility of Jones.
Up next is the unit from Boise State. I am not sure how any other pundits if any will put the Broncos wide outs this high, but for my money, these guys are as underrated as any unit on any tea in the country. Titus Young and Austin Pettis make a dynamic pair and while including Boise State does walk the line on a spread passing offense, you don't have to watch them play very much to realize that these guys would be able to play well in any system. Tyler Shoemakes makes for a great 3rd wideout with nice size, and TE Kyle Efaw is more of an H-Back type player but still a dangerous weapon in the passing game. All in all a very talented and dynamic group.
My last group is Arkansas. This group were a very balanced group, putting up nice numbers even though QB Ryan Mallett suffered with some accuracy, completing less than 56% of his passes. It all starts with Junior Greg Childs. He's got ideal height and great speed and hands. It's unfortunate that Childs doesn't get more pub than he does, because he's a very talented playmaker. The Razorbacks are another team on this list with a playmaker at TE with D.J. Williams. He's not real tall, but he's a big body and does a nice job getting open and making catches. Beyond these two, you have two more Juniors in Jarius Wright and Joe Adams, both smaller and quicker targets who compliment the size and style of Childs and Williams very well.
Honestly, I probably could have shuffled this top 4 just about how ever I want, and whoever I put at the top would have a case, but when you have two players who are at that elite level at their positions, it is tough to compete with. So, for me, when it comes to WR/TE units, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish are the Best of the Bunch.
The rest of my top 10
5. Texas A&M
6. Miami (FL)
Last Edited: 07/17/2010